Integrating Mainstream Knowledge with Indigenous Knowledge: Towards a Conceptual Framework of the Innovation Process of Indigenous Entrepreneurs
10 Pages Posted: 15 May 2011 Last revised: 2 Jul 2014
Date Written: October 16, 2009
Most of the literature on innovation and entrepreneurship tends to focus on mainstream innovations which are usually related to the context of developed economies. Much less attention has so far been paid to the wealth of innovations that occur outside formal R&D structures such as grassroots innovations derived from indigenous/traditional knowledge. Several of these grassroots innovations, often generated by indigenous entrepreneurs, have the potential to solve contemporary problems. These innovations tend to be cost-effective, ecosystem friendly and sustainable because indigenous people usually use low-cost in-puts and have an intimate knowledge of the ecosystem and how to preserve it.
While the innovation process of mainstream products or services are extensively discussed by various authors, no empirical study was found in the literature regarding the innovation process of indigenous entrepreneurs. An understanding of how indigenous entrepreneurs who use indigenous knowledge generate grassroots innovations could provide an insight into local practices and principles and represent an opportunity to transform current production and consumption patterns into more cost-effective, sustainable and ecosystem friendly models, in addition to contributing to indigenous entrepreneurship research. This paper thus highlights the need to extend the existing paradigm of innovation to include these idiosyncratic forms of innovation and provides a conceptual framework of the innovation process of indigenous entrepreneurs.
Keywords: Indigenous entrepreneurship, indigenous knowledge, grassroots innovations
JEL Classification: M13
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